== Matthew May ==

Steering Group representative, Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees

The world seems a relatively gloomy place at the moment, what with the global economic downturn, swine flu and the like. So let’s highlight one or two positive things happening in our industry right now.

Firstly, the Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees’ (ABST) Steering Group is making steady progress working to help deliver a relevant education and training package for the industry and, as you are probably aware, Campden BRI has agreed to become the Network Champion of the National Skills Academy (NSA) for bakery. The NSA Steering Group has been working hard to draw up a draft qualification, with a view to running a pilot course in the north of England from September 2009. The ABST group is also looking at ways to better promote the baking industry, so that the next generation is more readily attracted into it.

Secondly, just as the baking industry has united around education and training, it is good to see that the bakery colleges have brought themselves together under the guise of the ABST Bakery Lecturers & Trainers Forum. This group is now working together on how best they can help deliver education and training to the industry.

Finally, the ABST Annual Conference took place in Torquay last weekend. The numbers of member colleges were up, student members were up, and the conference was a fantastic opportunity for both students and trainees of the industry to meet and take advantage of the expertise offered by existing industry members, while also having a little fun.